Partner of a Pilot
The Candid Diary of an Airline Pilot’s Girlfriend

How can you trust a Pilot and accept his chosen career? …You really can you know!

I included the above picture to demonstrate the ways that one individual can be viewed stereotypically by a number of different people and perspectives. How we perceive others is subjective, that is to say that thoughts are not facts.

I often receive emails or blog comments, rants and pleas for help from pilot wives and especially girlfriends in the early stages of a ‘pilot relationship’ asking for my advice or opinion as if I somehow am a guru who holds the solution or truth about pilots… I am not, but I have been in most of their their shoes at some point, and I can offer some comfort I guess, because despite a few bumps in the road along the way, I am still very happy in my relationship.

Yesterday, I received a lovely comment from a new reader called Sinead that read:

O my God, am in love with this page! I have been reading it the past hour and have both laughed and cried! So strange seeing my own feelings and thoughts mirrored! Although my BF is far behind yours, he completed his CPL/ATPL in the U.S and is currently at home in Ireland doing his I.R … I really do hope that i can become more like you in accepting his work.. at times I’m fine and on top of the world.. and other times I am the most insecure person walking(and i’m not generally like that!) really really loved reading this though.. Thanks for the laughs! :)

Sinead – February 14, 2011 at 6:01 pm

I posted a reply to her under that entry, but thought that others might benefit from it too? So here is pretty much what my response to Sinead said:

Hello Sinead,

I am so glad that you have gained something from reading my blog… There are a heck of a lot of posts to trawl back through as I have been writing for several years now, but if you use the little search box in the right hand margin, you might find posts that are relevant to what you want to read.

Believe me, acceptance is a pathway in this life and not a destination… I still have days where I definitely struggle with Bf’s job, so please don’t let me fool you into thinking I am the Buddha of Pilot’s wives and girlfriends! I think I have just gained a different perspective overall, especially over the past year, that has helped me to put my life with Bf into perspective a little bit more when I do have my ‘moments’.

I think that really only comes with time, experience and trust… For me personally, it has come through suffering 2 significant bereavements, having a strong focus on a new career pathway and actively immersing myself into a course on mindfulness. I have come to the conclusion, that in life, we all have choices. I chose to be with Bf, despite knowing what his chosen career was… He chose to be with me, and continues to do so. I believe that it is because he wants to be with me, because that is what he tells me. Ultimately I have a strength that I own, it is not only because of him that I am successful or happy (although he adds to that of course).

Trust is a major factor in any relationship, but particularly in a pilot one. Initially in a pilot relationship, trust often needs to be given to that pilot before it is properly earned, because without it-the relationship would be doomed… You need to listen to what your gut is telling you, and if your gut tells you that your pilot is a worthy partner-they probably are-so don’t fall victim to people who sow seeds of doubt in your mind (we all have those ‘friends’ who love to plant doubts founded on their own insecurities). However, I do also believe that this ‘given trust’ has to be backed up too-and actually earned over time, and not simply taken for granted by the pilot in the relationship… It is only the actions of the pilot that will substantiate whether you ‘backed the right horse’, not blind faith.

I think that the key to acceptance of his job is understanding what you actually fear, and why, and then working back though your own factors to crystallise whether these fears or doubts are worthy of allowing them to cause fear, doubt and uncertainty in your relationship… For example, is it a fear of flying, infidelity, safety, trust, separation anxiety, etc… Then asking yourself why you have those doubts (e.g is it because a friend implanted a suggestion like ‘dont you worry that…’, is it because of a fear you have always had, is it that you’re bringing baggage into this relationship from a prior one, has he actually given you reason to have concern, etc). From there you can actually move forward and decide whether the relationship is a keeper, and this should help you to know your own mind and to filter out the unhelpful background noise

Ultimately you cannot control everything… One of my favourite quotes by an enlightened author called Rick Hanson is

Recognize that most alarm signals are actually not signals at all: they’re just unpleasant noise, meaningless, like a car alarm that won’t stop blapping. Don’t react to alarms with alarm; don’t be alarmed that you’re alarmed. (Obviously, sort out the alarms worth noticing from the ones you can safely ignore.)

Accept that life will sometimes be, well, alarming. Bad things happen, there are uncertainties, planes do occasionally crash, nice people get hit by drunk drivers. We just have to live with the fact that we can’t dodge all the bullets. When you come to peace with this, you stop trying – out of alarm – to control the things you can’t.

My advice is not to over analyse why he loves you, just accept it when he tells you that he does, because if it were not true-he has the choice to be elsewhere… If you allow uncertainty, fear or doubt to eat you up, then you will probably cease to resemble the person he fell in love with in the first place.

I hope that this helps?

8 Responses to “How can you trust a Pilot and accept his chosen career? …You really can you know!”

  1. Wow…. By any chance have you been talking to BF?? Alot of what you said there he has said numerous times before! (With the exception of a few that I find very interesting!) But you are right, he has said many times that he loves me, and wants only me, and that if he didnt want to be with me then he would certainly not be in a relationship with me!

    The strange thing is (and I am having difficulty in understanding this myself, so not sure how i can expect you to!) I trust him, in my heart i dont think he would cheat on me, and if he did, i think he would be honest and straight enough to tell me, yet at the same time I worry about it! You did throw up possibilites for that that i do find interesting! 1. “friends” If i get one more raised eyebrow or snide comment abouts a pilots lifesytle I will throw a shoe at their head! (dramatic i know!) and the second being baggage from a previous relationship, i was cheated on in the past, and i suppose it is possible i’m holding onto that, definitely one for me to look at again!

    One thing I meant to ask in my last comment was, how do you find BF being a pilot affects on family life? I know this is going to sound old fashioned but i always imagined my BF being a 9-5 worker and coming home to me and the kids every evening! I’m having trouble fitting the family image into that of a pilots lifestyle, yet another thing I have to get my head around!!

    I know it sounds like I am being incredibly down beat about all of this and i dont mean to be! He is happier than I ever seen him at anything before, even though he owes more money than i would earn in a lifetime! And i genuinely am happy for him, he see’s this as a way of providing a better life for both of us! Guessing its time I came around to his way of thinking,eh?? Maybe then i can take up the occupation of the Buddha of Pilot’s wives! 😛

  2. Hi…I have been with my pilot for 20 years-I think the “need for speed” type personalities are much more likely to cheat than the “slam and clickers”…and don’t forget-they get so spoiled at work-FA’s waiting on them like they are gods…a good relationship with a pilot can happen, but unless he has God in his life—it will be a roller coaster ride. He can easily be pulled to the dark side-if you and him are not spiritually grounded…I am still amazed at how women will act to get a man…married or not…those women are the dark side I mentioned…if a man is married, and you know it…Leave him Alone!!! Not everyone likes roller coaster rides.

  3. So I began to type and there are so many thoughts and questions in my head and wondering if anyone can relate, where would I begin? So here are my thoughts rather than post ( if that makes any sense). Let me just do this as I can right now by numbering as fast as I can what is moving from my brain to my fingers to the keyboard.
    1. How did I find this website again ?
    2. What brought me to feeling so lost that I googled ” being married to a pilot ” ( at least that answered question number 1.)
    3. Will any of these women relate to what I’m feeling ? Yes I see some who have been married 20+ years and some who are gf’s and young too. But the majority of some of the information I read had a common theme, ” i’m fit and therefore he has no reason to stray” Really ? I did have a chuckle at the post where the wife who had been cheated on said ” they were all big! ” So, if that is the case, are you saying overweight wives deserve to be cheated on ? If so, then I should click on the upper right hand corner of this page right now.
    4. I’m tired of ” conforming ” He’s flying alot right now and yes, i’m frustrated.
    5. I love him but why did we argue tonight over me going to bed at 10:30 pm and not wanting to eat dinner in front of the tv with him when I wasn’t even hungry” Please don’t fill your pretty little heads with the thought that i should be supportive and spend as much time together as humanly possible. Tonight it just struck a nerve with me.. Ok ” Dick” yes we’ll call him Dick.. I picked the name and it sounds very suiting right now. Call me Jane if you want :). How dare he come home from a trip that was NOT scheduled only to tell me that he has to fly out again in the morning and within that 3 hour time frame, I had to prepare a very late dinner and be ready to go to bed when he was ” because of his next UNSCHEDULED” trip 10 hours from then. So he wants to know what is ” MY PROBLEM” I am on some back pain medicine from a recent injury that just knocked me out today and I slept most of the day. I didnt want to go to bed at 10:30. He didn’t go to bed with me at 10 this morning when I took the muscle relaxer that was knocking me out.
    6. His new schedule is 12 months on, 1 month off which can be generously taken in as many increments as he wants but only flewn home twice a year ( crappy freight airline in the UAE) We live 10,000 miles from home and from family. We have only a handful of friends here ( hard to make friends with other married couples when every time a bbq is planned ) and I’m so burned out on being the 5th wheel to a dinner, club, etc. and hate coming home to an empty house later. It is so much easier to just stay home where hopefully there are enough boring movies on tv I just finally fall asleep. We are in our late 40’s ( him 53 actually) so no babies to take care of unless you count the animals.
    7. I hate when he ask me ” whats wrong now”. 1. that shows that its a problem for him to listen to me and 2. he doesn’t place any value on what I’m about to say to him so why bother and 3. Are you kidding me? Shall I fly back to the US and live among family and friends and leave you here alone rather than having to spend a few minutes of your prescious time listening to whats bothering me ? Only reason I haven’t yet is because of all the 21 y/o ( I won’t say which continent) bitches who are just dying to get their hands on an American pilot 30 years their senior or even 50 years their senior because they only see a free ticket to life in the US out of it !
    8. I ask myself 1,000 times a week, would it be so bad if he went ahead and got a girlfriend ? Let that bitch put up with what i do! BTW Miss or MRS. girlfriend, can you pick up his dirty laundry while your banging him and drop it off when your done ? I thought.. as long as she doesn’t interfere with the finances, whats there to lose ? I’m certainly not wanting sex right now and it would keep him off of me! BUT!!!! Then I remember how much I really do love him and love being with him even if its only for a small amount of time right now.
    9. Am I nuts ? Why do I still love this man that I gave up my career, life near my children, my beautiful big home in the US, my friends who I have been friends with for no less than 18 years. And he comes home expecting me to CONFORM TO HIM ? I think I already have dammit. NOW WHAT ABOUT ME ??? Every family counseling , marriage counseling guru will tell you not to give up your own identity. But if I don’t, then I will have given up being the submissive sweet wife he wants me to be.
    10.. and this one is a biggie.. How do you differentiate trusting your own gut feelings from insecurities ? How do you know he is or is not cheating when you don’t know if those feelings are coming from insecurities ( because you don’t have that FA body type) or you are constantly hammered with the beliefs that ALL men cheat especially pilots ? And last but not least, knowing so many pilots that have cheated ?

    We’ve been married 8 years, I’ve never caught him, never had any type of proof and so far, the only lies I’ve busted him in are about online porn ( I gave up that dog fight after realizing that if that is what he’s doing while away from home, then he’s not cheating)

    I feel like i’m losing my mind most of the time and have always kept it to myself until tonight where i’m realizing i’m tired of conforming. What about him? Why does it always have to be about him ? GRRRRR

  4. just wanted to clear up any mis conception regarding the ” miss or mrs girlfriend” statement. it was directed towards the pseudo 21 y/o who might be in line to replace me ” not the owner of this site by any means LOL .. See.. I was typing too fast for my brain.. I hope you understood 🙂

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